The trial for honor. Originally airing on April 8,1996, this is Rules of Engagement.
Station Log Stardate 49665.3 Rules of Engagement.
Worf is accused of murdering an entire ship of Klingon civilians and, with his honor at stake, it is up to Sisko and crew to prove his innocence.
Worf wanders through the Defiant and sees the crew of the ship dead at the hands of Klingon Raiders. Opening the door to the bridge he finds Klingon children dead in their seats. Suddenly he awakes finding himself in the brig with Odo informing the Commander that his hearing begins in a just few hours.
That morning the hearing begins with Prosecutor Ch’Pok stating that Work knowingly and willfully destroyed a civilian transport. Sisko adds that the transport was destroyed but was in fact a tragic accident due to the situation of the Defiant being under attack.
Sisko asks Odo to investigate the Captain of the Klingon transport in order to prove that he might have been attempting to join in the battle. Ch’Pok informs Sisko that, when they charge Worf of his crimes, they will be seeing more of the Klingon people in the near future.
It soon becomes apparent that Prosecutor Ch’Pok has no intention to lose and proposes that Worf’s heart is on trial and not his actions. He soon begins calling upon witnesses to question them about Worf’s predatory instinct. With each witness it becomes clearer and clearer that Ch’Pok has it out for the Commander, using even the slightest hints of Worf’s Klingon nature against him. As the trial continues Ch’Pok eventually provokes Worf into attacking the Prosecutor, proving that Worf is willing to attack an unarmed man.
After a deeper investigation, it is soon clear that this has been a setup and that the victims of the convoy were already dead and in fact had been killed in a crash three months earlier. Ch’Pok admits that this is a fact and that it is likely someone was trying to discredit the Federation preventing them from protecting Cardassian convoy’s in the future. The hearing is over and Worf is cleared.
Although proven innocent, Worf realizes that he should have never been in charge of the mission as he was too ready to kill his enemies. Sisko agrees that Worf made a mistake firing on the transport but, in time he will make a great Captain some day. They leave to go to a party celebrating his win at Quarks, despite the fact that Worf is reluctant to go.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is a rather interesting episode. Using Worf as the primary focus, each testimony is given in a manner allowing the speaker to address the audience directly effectively breaking the fourth wall but maintaining a great storytelling style. LeVar Burton does an incredible job balancing the story switching between flashbacks and trial scenes in a very fluid and balanced nature.
The story itself is one that really focuses on Worf and his challenges with Command. Having served in Security for so long, Worf struggles with leading others and finding balance in the commands he has to give. He is used to having things in a black and white manner, either one is guilty or not, an enemy or a friend. In a command situation however, there are more shades of grey to consider than just attack or defend and it is not easy for the Human-raised Klingon to decipher.
For Worf, it is a matter of nature vs nurture and this battle is ranging on a daily basis. His nature dictates that he should seek victory at all costs, no matter the collateral damage, but his nurture dictates that he should seek first to understand even if it means losing a battle to win a war. Much like the turning points we saw for other characters in the past couple of episodes, this episode is a major turning point for Worf and one that starts him off on his journey to Command.
Avery Brooks gets a beefy role in this one showing just how incredible an actor he is. Even though Ben Sisko is in Command, it seems that for many episodes he sits on the sidelines but when he gets a chance to shine, we really see just how amazing of an officer and mentor this Captain can be. Sure, he is not without his faults but man does he have what it takes.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- It seems that the Klingons have abandoned Honor for trickery and deceit, something they swore they would never do in the past. Or does this have something to do with a certain General in command of the fleet…
- Alexander is mentioned in this one but not seen, it will not be long before the son of Worf makes his appearance.
- The ongoing joke of Morn never shutting up despite the viewers never hearing him speak is brought up again in this one.
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Late To The Game 9/18/2021 (Originally published 9/16/2019)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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